Yesterday afternoon I heard shouting, swearing and crashing noises in the kitchen. Was Gordon Ramsay cooking for the Queen? Or Marco Pierre White gutting squid for a state dinner? No – it was The Boy making lunch: pasta with tomato sauce.
I found him in the kitchen, crashing about, ten saucepans littering the work surfaces, moaning and clutching his head. ‘What happened?’
‘I banged my head on the saucepan and slipped on an onion.’
It was difficult to see how he’d banged his head on a saucepan since they’re kept in cupboards at knee height. At my confused look he explained sheepishly that in frustration he had hit himself over the head with a saucepan. Ah right. ‘I’m trying to make tomato sauce’ he grumbled.
I suggested a can of tomatoes would be a good idea. He put on the pasta. He heated the tomatoes. Then he decided he’d give the onions another go and chopped them into large lumps. After a few seconds he started crying and swearing. ‘My eyes are watering and the lumps are too big. Why didn’t you tell me to fry the onions first!’
‘You didn’t ask’ I said tightly. He got out another saucepan and I showed him how to fry onions. I could hear Husband’s voice saying: ‘Don’t bloody do it for him.’ I ignored it – he was in a nice clean office with grown-ups and not a tantrummy teenager. ‘Do I have to keep stirring it?’ The Boy huffed. Then he decided to add some garlic and spent a good fifteen minutes trying to peel it but his nails weren’t long enough or something. Meanwhile the pasta was overcooked and clinging to the bottom of the saucepan like those rubber bands in massive bundles, collected by thrifty types. I snatched the garlic, pulled off the skin and showed him how to chop it.
‘Euggh! Now my fingers smell of garlic!’
Christ – this was turning into some Japanese endurance test. Taking a deep breath I told him to tip the garlic into the onions, stir and cook for five minutes, and then add it all to the tomato mixture, taste it and add salt and pepper.
‘Stop stop – you’re going too fast for me!’
Finally he tipped the tomato pasta mess into a dish. I was going to suggest he grated some Parmesan over it but was worried his brain might explode. How does he manage to get his trousers on in the morning?